What do you think?

What do you think of this? A public school teacher allegedly posted disparaging comments about homosexuality on her Facebook page.

Do you think this is okay? What should be the consequences?

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28 Responses to What do you think?

  1. Laura says:

    I think I can safely say that people need to start learning that they can’t just spew whatever the heck they want on FB. First off, people rarely wish to read your negativity. At least not all the time. It’s one thing if it’s occasional, or if you’re really passionate about something, but even then, the wording needs to be such that regular people aren’t offended by it. Because honestly, people ARE going to be offended. And if you’re a teacher/professional, for the love of pete, DON’T friend coworkers or students!!! Especially if you’re going to post crap like that.

    Yes, she has an absolute right to her opinion. And she has an absolute right to say what she wants. And she *should* have an absolute right to put something like that on her FB. However, we live in a time where Political Correctness trumps everything else – right or wrong. I guarantee, if she had said the exact same thing about Christians, there wouldn’t be the peepiest of peeps about it.

    It really disturbed me – more than her words (which I thought were inappropriate, right or wrong) was that the LGBT woman said that she was shocked that anyone would oppose that display that the school sponsored. Is she really THAT naive?

    This thing is so convoluted. I don’t think she should lose her job, if this is an isolated incident, and if she is otherwise a good teacher with a good track record. I do think, though, that she should be more aware in future, what she’s saying, and who she’s saying it to.

  2. SKL says:

    The linked article says that the ACLU is advocating for her right to express her opinion. I agree with the ACLU on that. An opinion is just an opinion. She posted it on her personal facebook page not on the school bulletin board. I don’t see what is wrong with people knowing that not everyone considers homosexuality a great thing. That can be said of everything. Should teachers also get fired if they disagree with, for example, the election of Obama, or state-funded abortions, or giving tax-funded educational benefits to illegal immigrants? At what point is a school teacher entitled to state her own opinion? Or is that never allowed?

    From what I could gather, she did not put down any person in particular, but just stated her own personal opinion on a general subject, which is that homosexuality is immoral. Let’s be honest – this is a very widely-held view. I may not agree with it, but that’s different from believing that she has no right to say this on her own facebook page. I also feel that she was reacting to a heartfelt concern that all of this “celebration” of homosexuality in the schools could encourage young people to do something that she feels is not in their best interest. To her, it was perhaps the same as a display honoring famous drunks or drug addicts. She’s a religious person, but that does not mean she “hates.” And again, her concern is not at all unusual. Even the gay people I know avoid sharing their lifestyle with impressionable youths, because the fact is that being in the gay minority isn’t all that spectacular; it’s not something you wish on a kid if you really know what you’re talking about.

    And frankly, I agree that there is no need to have a gay pride display in a public school. And also – when was the last time they had a heterosexual marriage pride display in a school? Has any public school ever had a display celebrating famous people who stayed married long enough to raise their kids? Heck, some schools won’t even allow a celebration of US military heroes. But gay pride is somehow so sacred that nobody’s allowed to have a personal opinion about it.

    By the way, the article said that the person who turned her in was some politician who believed that a teacher who does not approve of homosexuality would be unlikely to protect gay students from being bullied. That’s quite a stretch. How about we fire all the non-Christian teachers since their personal beliefs render them unlikely to protect Christian students from being bullied? (Or vice-versa?)

    Another thing – just because she voiced her opinion on facebook doesn’t mean she is the only teacher who feels that way. If they are going to fire every teacher who doesn’t like the idea of gay pride day at school, then they need to interview every teacher. Anyone who really thinks the numerous other teachers all embrace “gay pride” displays in the school is an idiot.

    • SKL says:

      One more thing. If a kid is old enough to understand this “gay pride” display, then s/he is too old to be sheltered from the reality that not everyone is on board with gay pride.

      • Laura says:

        I should take my answer down. Yours is much more coherent than mine. I’m scattered and fuddled today.

        However, I stand by my opinion that you can’t just spew ‘whatever’ on FB and not expect repercussions. Being fired from a job for an FB status is very real in this day and age. I agree with you that, in this case, firing is absolutely wrong, however, I think people need to take a lesson from this and other occasions like this – whatever you put on the internet is there forever, and very wide open to the interpretation of others.

        • SKL says:

          I think this teacher probably did know that, but still felt she had a right to state her opinion.

          I think we can draw a distinction between employers acting based on personal behavior displayed on facebook (e.g., photos of oneself engaged in underaged drinking or in immodest poses), and people being fired from a job (particularly a union-protected government job) for stating an opinion. For one thing, if you don’t already have the job, you need to be concerned about “first impression” etc. And of course if you are a teacher, you have to know that kids look up to you (theoretically) and folks will get upset if your facebook page threatens to “corrupt” their kids. I don’t see that as the same as an opinion stated in words. Maybe some of the words were not well-chosen (e.g., “I don’t have to tolerate”), but I still feel she should be protected.

          When I was an education student (before facebook existed), the health teacher pointed out that there will be times when personal life is at odds with what is taught in school. For example, many health teachers are smokers. Is it the students’ or parents’ business? No. Not unless the cigarette is being smoked in the classroom. Will someone find out about the smoking? Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean they can fire the teacher or force her to quit the habit. She’s entitled to her choice. Same is true of her personal opinion stated on her personal web page, in my opinion.

        • Joy says:

          Please don’t take yours down. I agree with what you wrote. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Agree or not, I don’t feel the public-ness of FB is the right thing to do.

    • Joy says:

      I really don’t think a president getting elected or a law passing or not is in the same category as someone being gay. That’s just the way someone is and it’s not a choice people make. It either is or it isn’t. All people are different and a teacher has to be able to treat all her students in an equal way and with respect and understanding. It’s a huge HUGE part of the job. I hated tattling whiners on the playground but I still had to listen to them when they came to me for something. When you work with children you can’t just say this is black and that’s white. Circumstances are different for all children.

      I do feel this woman is very petty and I’ll say not a very nice human being. Because why say anything then? I don’t think she should be fired but I sure wouldn’t want my kids to have her. I think teachers are like the people who broadcast the news. You report the story without your “slant” on it. A teacher is there to teach and not give their take on what they’re teaching and how they feel about private issues.

      I do feel if you’re a teacher you are a human being and have rights but would you want your kids teacher to have pictures of her/him smoking and doing a strip tease drunk in a bar on her page?

      You either show good judgement or not. You’re either kind and loving or you’re not.

      • SKL says:

        I didn’t get the impression that she was picking on her students. There was no indication that she had gay students. She was talking about the inappropriateness and offensiveness to her of a celebration of famous gay people (not students) at the school.

        We all know people who have strong opinions about “the way things should be” but still are kind and respectful of people who could be considered “part of the problem.” My grandma used to have choice words for many groups of people “in general,” but she also had good friends in those groups. As for me, I recently took heat because I don’t like some things about the food stamp system, but that doesn’t mean I hate or disrespect individuals on food stamps. I am against Obamacare, but that doesn’t mean I hate anyone who buys into it. So I don’t think we can assume that this woman’s personal opinions make her a poor teacher.

        In addition, even if she is not the most awesome teacher, there are plenty of other teachers who have issues that are not kept very private, and nothing happens to them. I had an art teacher who was sleeping around with lots of women and joking publicly about it. Yes, it lowered him in my opinion, but it never occurred to me to think he should be fired. I’ve also dealt with many teachers whose racism was quite easy to recognize. They didn’t intend to be unfair to the kids, but in fact they were, however subtly. (The kids were too young to realize it.) We could say they should all be fired, but before we say that, we need to recognize how many teachers we’re talking about. Retraining might be a better big-picture solution.

        Speaking of which, maybe that would be a reasonable compromise in this case. Retraining – on social media issues. And perhaps school PR issues. But not on her right to have and express her own opinions.

        Another thing. If we went back, say, 20 or 30 years, the tables could easily be turned. A teacher speaking out in favor of a gay pride celebration in school could be fired or harassed for his opinion. Would that be right? And yet if we applied the standard of “teachers should avoid public controversy,” nobody would have dared to bring up homosexuality in schools in the first place. Freedom of speech simply has to go both ways.

      • Karen Joy says:

        I know this is about the teacher but what bugs me is if homosexuals are to be treated the same and as equals as you say(Im not disagreeing on that either here,they should be respected and treated as everyone else)why is it then that there is even a gay pride display in a public school.Like SKL said ,I dont see a heterosexual marriage pride display.They set themselves apart by things of this sort.I quess I am tired of peoples way of live being forced on everyone so publicly and heaven forbid you disagree!Now I do agree you should really watch what you put on FB.

  3. mssc54 says:

    *Do you think educators should sign away their First Ammendment rights when they sign their contracts too work?

    NO!

    • Laura says:

      I never said that they should. I DO believe that, in teaching and every other job out there, you have to be careful what you put in print. This issue is a little different than others, where a teacher specifically pointed out the flaws of her students, but the idea is the same.

      Would she have written those words in an Op/Ed piece in the paper? Likely not. Then why on earth would she print it on FB, especially if she’s friends with coworkers, bosses, and especially students and/or parents?

      Do I think she should be fired for it? Absolutely not. But when you dish out controversial opinions, you have to be ready to take the heat for it. And I agree with her that she doesn’t have to “tolerate” (in the modern definition, which is actually “acceptance” or “embrace”, instead of simply “allow to be without harassing”) homosexuality, but I think that when she has a ‘public’ job like that, and ESPECIALLY with the open forum that FB has become (where, even though you set everything to “private”, if someone comments on your status, suddenly that status is open for all of their friends to view, as well), she needs to moderate her words better. It is far more difficult to interpret intent through the written word than through the spoken word, where vocal inflections, facial expressions, and body language contribute to meaning and intent.

      I also think that ex-councilman was WAY out of line, implying that, because she doesn’t agree with homosexuality, she wouldn’t defend someone being bullied for it. There is a huge gap between disapproval of an activity and allowing someone to be beat up for it. I don’t agree with people smoking, but I will defend to the death their right to do it.

      Bottom line, she shouldn’t be fired for it. She shouldn’t even be officially reprimanded for it, as it is her personal opinion, and there is no evidence that it affects her teaching. That councilman is completely out of line. AND she (and other teachers/professionals) should learn a lesson that even if FB is “private”, it isn’t.

  4. Joy says:

    I think a teacher should be like any other person. If you think something is “questionable” or might offend or hurt someone you consider a “friend,” then don’t put it on FB or anywhere on the Internet. If you do you shouldn’t whine that you didn’t get a certain job or you got fired or you made all your friends mad. You can’t un-ring a bell and I think if you’re any kind of a decent human, you’ll respect other’s rights. Also, keep your FB page private.

    Rights are rights but by the same token, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. I do think a teacher has a higher standard that us mortals. I don’t know why. I just do.

  5. Karen Joy says:

    I agree with everything SKL said!!!Well put SKL!

  6. SKL says:

    Having quit some discussion sites and then gone back silently to see what’s being said, I can say it’s really hard to see a discussion going in one direction and force oneself not to comment. You see people making life choices based on what you consider wrong information, and it burns. But at least it was my choice to “quit” and I could jump back in without major consequences if I wanted to.

    Now if I had my own facebook page, the chances are that I would make posts about stuff like that if I felt very strongly about it. Hopefully I would word my posts delicately, but would that matter in this PC world? Would the vultures be happy if this teacher merely said, “no offense to anyone, but I personally believe homosexuality is immoral as stated in the Bible” / “No offense to anyone, but I consider a gay pride display in school to be inappropriate”? I don’t know. I’ve seen it go both ways. Last I heard, Muslims were suing a Catholic college for having too many crucifixes around. Sometimes you just gotta assert your rights. (But I agree, be nice about it.)

    Freedom of speech isn’t just a nice thing to have, it’s a basic tenet of being an American.

  7. Joseph says:

    Oh! Hot topic here!!
    I believe she should have every right to say what she wants. Agree with her or not. She was not advocating this in teh classroom, but on her own personal (albeit public) time.
    I hate Political Correctness already. I feels as if we are to keep all our opinions bottled up, unless you are in the current socially ‘hip’ crowd of the moment.
    Unless someone is teaching actual harm (violence, both physical and mental), which is obviously wrong (and goes against the Christian tenant of ‘love’), one should have the freedom to say what they feel. Otherwise you are just an imposter to yourself.
    I don’t believe in smoking, nor do I believe in ‘moving in together’ before marriage. I let people know where I stand, yet still have intact and meaningful relationships with people who participate in either one, while remaining honest and open about my convictions.
    The whole GLTG movement is about ‘being true to one’s self’, therefore should not ALL parties be true to themselves?

  8. SKL says:

    I think my latest post got lost, a few hours ago. In case it isn’t there any more, I just want to point one thing out. If teachers never voiced controversial and potentially offensive opinions, there would be no mention of “homosexuality” or “gay pride” in school in the first place. Decades ago, any educator who thought it was a good idea would have been harrassed if not fired. If it was wrong then, it’s wrong now. You can’t offer “free speech” only in the flavor of the week.

  9. Joy says:

    When I worked at Minnetonka Middle School west during Desert Storm, we couldn’t even wear shirts supporting our troops. There are a lot of things public school teachers and employees aren’t allowed to do that most people aren’t aware of.

    Like I said above. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Why hurt a child for no reason other than a belief? We don’t all believe the same things. It’s not going to “fix” anything. We must remember, these are kids who are probably already struggling. What does this prove? Telling a child they are immoral? What does that prove? I think anyone who would hurt a child, no matter how, is in the wrong and it’s got nothing to do with being politically correct but more about being kind and loving. I feel the same way about religion and politics.

    I don’t want any teacher “teaching” my child this stuff and I do feel if you teach, you owe more than this kind of behavior to your students who you have more hours a day than their parents do. If you can’t love and teach all students, then I think you should find a different job. Morality is not something I want my kids taught by a teacher like this. I didn’t want my kids taught to hate. That’s why nothing ever changes.

    I have too many family members and a best friend who are gay so there’s nothing more I can or will say about this.

    • Joy says:

      If you really want to know how I feel, this teacher and the things she said about people I love, makes me feel ill. I don’t feel she should be a teacher. I think she’s homophobic and I’m truly shocked at the amount of people here who think what she did is okay. Just shocked. Honestly.

      • SKL says:

        For the record, I also have very close loved ones who are gay, and I don’t consider this woman’s opinion to be directed toward them personally. It is a widely held opinion and like many wrong but widely held opinions, censoring it on one person’s facebook page is not going to make it go away. There is no gay person who hasn’t already heard these views numerous times. And until today, this woman was a nobody. None of my gay loved ones would have had the displeasure of knowing about her rant if it hadn’t received attention from a pro-gay politician.

        My gay loved ones are more concerned about finding a church that doesn’t insult them and keeping good relations with neighbors and relatives, than what some Bible-thumping schoolteacher in another state has to say, or whether Chaz Bono’s photo is on display in a NJ high school.

        Maybe the world would be a better place if we would let people have their say in their own personal space and move on.

    • SKL says:

      I’m not sure why you feel she was trying to hurt children. The display was about famous adult gay people such as Harvey Milk and some actors. I saw no indication that she was referring to or even aware of gay students in the school. I am more likely to think that in her mind, she was feeling protective of her students who might be more willing to experiment with homosexuality in the future due to all the celebrating.

      I also so no indication that she was communicating any of this at school or to her students. I would not make that assumption without evidence.

      Of course, now all her students know about it, but that is because of another adult’s actions. She has so far declined to comment further – good for her. My guess is that she never intended for her students, gay or straight, to see her facebook comments.

      Not sure how smart she was about privacy controls, etc. Maybe she really screwed that up. But that in itself doesn’t make her a bully toward gay students.

      • Joy says:

        This is what she said about gay people:

        “Homosexuality is a perverted spirit that has existed from the beginning of creation….”

        The comment went on to say that homosexuality is a “sin” that “breeds like cancer.”

        Knox apparently also wrote, “Union is not South Orange/Maplewood where one out of four families consist of two Mommies or daddies… Why parade your unnatural immoral behaviors before the rest of us? I/we do not have to accept anything, anyone, any behavior or any choices! I do not have to tolerate anything others wish to do.”

        Do you really think this is okay?

        • SKL says:

          1) “Homosexuality is . . .that has existed from the beginning of creation.” She’s talking about the thing in general, not an individual. She acknowledges that it’s always existed.

          2) “Sin” – that’s what the Old Testament of the Bible says, and lots of people continue to believe this. The OT of the Bible gives many vivid examples of how sin (including homosexuality specifically) breeds like cancer, to the distruction of whole peoples. If you strongly believe that something is a sin, it’s a sin, no matter whether you love the people comitting it or not. Besides, we are all sinners. It’s the promotion of the “sin” through “GLBT month” that has her upset.

          3) “Union is not like [an area where there are many gay families whose prevalence justifies more focus on gay sensitivity / tolerance].” Sounds like she’s commenting on the demographics of the school district. If a school system is 1% Muslim, they are going to approach that differently from a school system that is 25% Muslim. Same thing with gay demographics, in her opinion.

          4) “Why parade your . . . behaviors . . . .” I took that to mean why do the famous people in the display and their [adult, non-student] promoters “need” to do this in the school.

          5) “I do not have to tolerate anything others wish to do.” Not sure what she means by “not tolerate.” Not appreciate? Not accept as moral? Not allow? Not speak against?

          I do not like her choice of words and I don’t agree with her opinion, except that I do agree the display doesn’t need to be in the school, nor do they need to celebrate “GLBT month” at school. However, none of this appears to be directed at or intended to hurt gay students at the school – especially given that she didn’t actually say any of it to her students. It was just a personal rant in my opinion. I’ve been guilty of a good many personal rants on the internet, and I guess I’m in for it if someone ever takes them public, but the fact is that I don’t do it to hurt people. (But yes, I am a dumbass sometimes, in hindsight.)

      • Joy says:

        I also don’t feel there should be a “homosexuality” month or any of that crap either. I think all that stuff is stupid and it’s not what school is for. This goes back to the question on hand. Do you think teachers should put stuff like this out where their students can read them. I say again, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. What if one of us said we didn’t like Obama because he was black? Whether you agree with homosexuality or not, you have gay people in your family. Trust me. One of your kids could end up being gay. Would you then just stop loving them?

        I think teachers need to stand one step up. They should be looked upon and treated with respect. Therefore, I feel they should act accordingly. Why put such hate online? Was it necessary to put it on FB? Then she sits back and wonders why people are upset. Seriously, what a totally unloving person and I don’t and will never respect or want my loved ones having anything taught by someone like this.

        • SKL says:

          She should have taken precautions to make sure her students would not have access to that.

          But, homophobia is widespread regardless. I’d bet money that your sons were taught by plenty of teachers who had the exact same opinion she has. Just as truly as this lady has a gay family member and may not even know it.

  10. SKL says:

    Not to antagonize, but why do some people think we need to know who has sex with which gender of consenting adult? I can’t think of one aspect of my life where it matters which of my loved ones are gay or straight.

  11. Joseph says:

    Well, to put this in perspective on my personal level, I had a co-worker who was gay. He was a great guy! Funny and caring! Somehow we got on the topic and I told him my personal convictions. He actually commended me for telling him how I truly felt, instead of lying to him and putting on a charade. I respected him, and really enjoyed visiting with him. Nothing changed after our conversation. I still visited with and though nothing less of him, nor him to I.
    In no way do I condone hate or violence. Nor do I specifically believe everyone should spout off everything on FB (you know how I feel about public profiles)…but then I am guilty of doing just that, right here on this blog.
    I implore you not to equate my comments as hate speech.

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